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Doctor Who To Be Axed, Again 304

Posted by kdawson
from the who-gets-the-scarf? dept.
twofish writes "According to UK tabloid The Sun, hit BBC sci-fi program Doctor Who will reportedly end next year after its fourth season. Producer Russell T. Davies has decided to bring the hit sci-fi show to a close — to 'go out at the top' — so he can concentrate on other projects, according to the article. Davies and other senior staff are feeling the strain of the heavy workload imposed by the show, nine months a year of 16-hour days, and plan to resign en-masse in 2008. Davies, a long-time fan of Doctor Who, relaunched the series in 2005, 16 years after the original series was axed." Update: 05/31 16:36 GMT by KD : Reader palewook points out that the UK Guardian sets this story straight: "But there isn't any way it would be axed even if [Davies] left. He loves the show and he does feel that maybe it would benefit from some new blood."
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Doctor Who To Be Axed, Again

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  • Pinch of salt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baljet (547995) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:09AM (#19336697)
    It is the Sun after all. But don't mind me, please resume panic.
    • by simm1701 (835424)
      For those state side who are not familiar with The Sun, its equivalent over there is probably the national equirer or other super market tabloids.

      Calling The Sun a rag would be an insult to dish clothes the world over!
    • by hal2814 (725639)
      Here are some British points of view (who also happen to be Who fans): Outpost Gallifrey Discussion [gallifreyone.com]
    • Sorry, I haven't gotten to the article yet, I'm still on page 3.
    • by Artifice_Eternity (306661) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @11:12AM (#19338927) Homepage
      How did I know that the tabloid Sun story would be on Slashdot, while the more level-headed, better-sourced Guardian piece would not?

      http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,209 2376,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

      The BBC has insisted that the future of Doctor Who's executive producer, Russell T Davies, "has not yet been decided" in spite of reports today that he will quit the hit show after the next series.

      A BBC drama spokeswoman said that Mr Davies has signed up to oversee this year's Doctor Who Christmas special and 2008's fourth series.

      However, she added that his involvement with Doctor Who after that has not been confirmed.

      "Discussions have not begun so we cannot say if Russell will be involved or not," she said.

      A senior BBC Wales drama source told MediaGuardian.co.uk that Mr Davies may be preparing to leave the show.

      "Russell has always said that he wouldn't be with the show forever and he has made no secret that the hours are quite exhausting," the insider said.

      "But there isn't any way it would be axed even if he left. He loves the show and he does feel that maybe it would benefit from some new blood."

      Today's Sun claimed that the show will be axed after the fourth series because of the decision by Mr Davies to quit as executive producer.

      The Sun reported that Mr Davies and "senior staff have hatched a plot to hand in a group resignation in summer 2008 and that the show will end after series four".

      It quoted a "source" who said that Mr Davies had become fed up over an exhausting workload of 16-hour days nine months a year.

      Mr Davies has been the creative driving force behind the Doctor Who revival, which has been a resounding critical and ratings success, and his departure would be a blow for the BBC.

      As executive producer he has taken on a "show runner" role, overseeing all creative aspects of the drama and in particular leading the team of Doctor Who writers, as well as scripting individual episodes himself.

      The showrunner role is common on long running US TV drama and comedy series, but not often seen in the UK.

      However, if Mr Davies does leave Doctor Who, the BBC will want to keep such a popular show going by bringing in a new executive producer to take over his creative responsibilities.

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:09AM (#19336699) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to thank Russel a lot for his efforts: a lot of people like me was missing the Doctor.
    But I'd also like to tell BBC that there could be other producers able to continue the job.
    After all you can slash resources from some other (maybe more stupid) program.
    In any case, may God save the Great Britain and the Little one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Little Britain needs killing though. It's the same crappy joke repeated each week. Oh look wheel chair guy, bet he runs away, oh look fat slag, bet she talks shit.

      Good comedy evolves and changes, not changes the sets and props each week. Little Britain is the lowest of the low brow comedy and is about on par with reality TV for it's entertainment value.
  • by dghcasp (459766)

    Davies and other senior staff are feeling the strain of the heavy workload imposed by the show, nine months a year of 16-hour days

    I guess with all their collective experience in TV production that they expected, like, two four-hour days a week, right?

    Dang shame, as it's a TV formula that can handle the complete replacement of its cast and yet stay interesting... David Tennant is the 10th actor to hold the title role. Unfortunately, it may not be able to handle the replacement of its crew.

    On one hand

    • On one hand, I'm v. sad to hear this, as it's a pretty good show nowadays. I can understand wanting to leave at the top rather than the bottom (Sylvester MacCoy anyone?); but it's definately could run a few more years before becomming tired.

      At the time some senior staff in the BBC hated the show. They were playing all sorts of games to get the ratings down to the point where it could be killed. Eventually they managed to and on the back of ropey writing, a not very strong Doctor and continual schedule chan

  • bummer. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:09AM (#19336711)
    Nah, don't worry it'll be back. I've lost count of how many times that shows been pulled, revived and then cancelled again.

    Mind you, there must be a limit that even a time lord can regenerate.

    The monsters were scarier in the 1980s though - or was that because I was much younger?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tumutbound (549414)

      The monsters were scarier in the 1980s though - or was that because I was much younger?
      The monsters were much, much scarier in the 1960's - or is that because I'm older?
    • Nah, don't worry it'll be back. I've lost count of how many times that shows been pulled, revived and then cancelled again.
      Three. Once when it was given an extended "hiatus" during the Colin Baker/"Trial of a Time Lord" era, once when the classic series ended with Sylvester McCoy in 1989, and once when the 1996 TV Movie starring Paul McGann failed to get picked up for a series.
      • by hal2814 (725639)
        If you're counting the 1996 movie then you should also count "The Scream of Shalka" that was going to be pave the way for an animated series that was axed to make room for the new live-action series.
        • IIRC Shalka was meant to be, first and foremost, a 40th Anniversary celebration type of thing. There was the distant possibility of it maybe going to series, but by the time that even reached the discussion phase the 2005 series came about and it was a moot point.
    • Re:bummer. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dylan_- (1661) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @10:10AM (#19337855) Homepage

      The monsters were scarier in the 1980s though - or was that because I was much younger?
      Because you were younger. I was up in Scotland visiting my sister and, while watching Doctor Who, I was delighted to see my 8 year old niece hugging a large cushion and hiding her face behind it whenever the monsters appeared! That is what Doctor Who is all about!
    • by david.given (6740)

      Mind you, there must be a limit that even a time lord can regenerate.

      There is. Twelve. [wikipedia.org] He's currently on #10, so he's running out. (We've actually met #12, in the Trial of a Time Lord arc.)

      The Master has run out of regenerations, and has to steal other people's bodies.

      • ...which is how the good Doctor could remain in perpetuity as well, if you think of it. Interesting plot point could be the ethical dilemmas faced with the Doctor "stealing" someone else's body!

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:10AM (#19336729)
    FYI, a LOT of British series do this sort of thing (limited runs, going out on top voluntarily). Same thing happened with The Office, Ab Fab, etc. We Americans could learn a lot from these Brits (Lost and Heroes writers, I'm looking in your direction).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215)
      Hold on there, Heroes hasn't started sucking yet. Or are you just being preemptive? :) I hear Lost is, well, Lost. Glad I never got into that one. Battlestar Galactica is now officially lost in space. :( There's something to be said for going in with a plan, doing what you intended, and bowing out before you start stinking up the place. B5 had a magnificent run using that same idea.
      • I take it you missed the Heroes season finale? Horrible.
      • on Lost: people bitched a lot about the end of season 2 /start of season 3 era. but it all leads up to the end of season 3 which for me was one of the best television episodes ever.

        anyone who didn't like the end and isn't looking forward to the 48 remaining episodes could never have been a fan of the show in the first place.
        • anyone who didn't like the end and isn't looking forward to the 48 remaining episodes could never have been a fan of the show in the first place.

          Lost is a much better show if you can watch the episodes in faster succession, like one a night. The nebulous story arc and large cast of characters make it difficult to get into, and keep interested, when you only see a new episode every week or three.
          • Lost is a much better show if you can watch the episodes in faster succession, like one a night.

            That's what my wife and I do -- we do a marathon run to watch the whole season. It's available both on DVD and on iTunes.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      Lost has a pre-planned number of seasons. They aren't just milking the show for all it's worth and dumping it when it's losing money, they have a set plan.

      Heroes... I'm pretty sure they just make it up as they go along, as evidenced by the interview with the creators where they said they decided Hiro was too powerful mid-season and nerfed him.

      Yeah, I watch both shows and Doctor Who, too. Shows with plot are finally coming back after years and years of Reality TV. I hope they keep getting stronger.

      Surviv
      • by imsabbel (611519)
        "Lost has a pre-planned number of seasons".
        Yeah right. And i tell you what the plan is: Just noodling down the thing until you cannot quench a buck out of it anymore, than dumb it.
    • by will_die (586523)
      Heard an interview once from a BBC writer who was talking about this, small number of episodes per year, small number of years,etc.
      He chalked it up to that in the UK most series have one or two people as writers, the same number as producers, directors,etc. In the US your average show has 10-20 writers, a bunch of producers, directors,etc. So the writers for the BBC quickly go through all thier ideas and after that the series is over, in the US with all thoses writers they get alot of ideas and can write
    • Well, personally, I still prefer good shows to be one season too long rather than a couple ones too short. The Fox, I'm looking in your direction.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Silver Sloth (770927)
      The classic example of that was Fawlty Towers. It was a stroke of genius from John Cleese to create twelve perfect episodes and leave it at that, a series that not only never jumped the shark, but never fell below perfection. No wonder it's one of Britain's favourites. (And don't mention the war!)
    • Seinfeld did that.
  • That's dumb (Score:2, Informative)

    by jollyreaper (513215)
    I give the man props for helping to bring the show back but he has, on average, written the dullest of the episodes in the new series. The beauty of the Dr. Who format is that it is designed to be timeless and exist far beyond the mortal limits of the humans involved. The only constant in the cast is the Doctor and he can "regenerate" every time the actor wants to move on to other things. The production staff should be equally replaceable. Want to move on? No problem! Take a sabbatical? No problem! A show l
  • The Sun (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stevecrox (962208) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:15AM (#19336827) Journal
    This is coming from The Sun, one of the nations gossip 'newspapers'. Doctor Who is made by the BBC, considering how this latest series of Doctor Who has talked to BBC first I find it slightly suspicous, I mean the qoutes not even from Davies:

    A source said: "The heavy workload -- nine months of 16-hour days every year -- has started to take its toll. It was decided the best thing for the show was go out at the top next year."

    I'm betting this is anouther in a long line of Sun articles designed to sell newspapers which is based on gossip, when the BBC says there will be no more Doctor Who I'll believe them. As it standard Doctor Who is the BBC's most popular show so even if Davies were to quit I doubt they would axe the show.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      I'm betting this is anouther in a long line of Sun articles designed to sell newspapers which is based on gossip, when the BBC says there will be no more Doctor Who I'll believe them. As it standard Doctor Who is the BBC's most popular show so even if Davies were to quit I doubt they would axe the show.

      Perhaps. But they could kill it, ala the Berman & Piller destruction of the Star Trek franchise. All they have to do is hire someone who has no real interest in the show or is such a raving fanatic that they make changes which strangle the show's unique qualities (pink Daleks anyone?).

    • ...say that after falling IQ figures, the Sun is to be axed at the end of the silly season.
    • The Sun makes the National Enquirer look like Time Magazine.

      "A source said" is always a euphemism for "I just made this up"

  • by Pao|o (92817) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:16AM (#19336843)
    The X-Files lasted 9 seasons/series of 20-30 episodes each. TNG, DS9 and Voyager lasted 7 years each with 20-30 episodes each. SG-1 lasted 10 seasons of 20-30 episodes as well.

    Why in heavens name would they be burnt out with 3 seasons with only 13 episodes each? i'd understand your standard US TV show but a UK show that churns out that few episodes shouldnt be complaining.

    I'm thinking the writers are just being honest that they cant write proper stories no more.
    • by Paulrothrock (685079) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:20AM (#19336931) Homepage Journal

      Maybe it's because the quality of the new Dr. Who is so much better than the vast majority of TNG, DS9, Voyager or the X Files.

    • The shows you mention all share a very important trait: Many main characters. It's easy for Patrick Steward to take a week off by writing him to some peace talk conference on a planet without skipping the week. Hey, it could be made into a plot device.

      Not possible in Dr. Who. What's Dr. Who without Dr. Who? Dr. ... who?
    • Russel T Davies has been involved in producing three simultaneous shows as well as behind the scenes work on Doctor Who Confidential and Totally Doctor Who. Sure there have been other simultaneous series run by the same creative teams; Star Trek and the Angel/Buffy/Firefly shows being examples but they suffered quality problems due to the team being stretched thin. Look at Buffy S6-7 and Angel S3-4 and tell me that quality wasn't waning even though they were still fine shows.

      The Doctor Who shows have had
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anspen (673098)
      ... And all of those show had dreadfull seasons (apart from often having bad/filler episode in the *good* seasons). A couple in the case of TNG & DS9, about 5 for X-files and I don't think there ever was a good season for Voyager.
  • Unhappy... (Score:2, Insightful)

    I'm not pleased, either. I can understand the reasoning - high workloads can lead to burnout - but I concur with other posters. Let someone else do it...Doctor Who stories tend to benefit from fresh ideas and it can reasonably go in nearly ANY direction.

    The current version has even managed to do a decent re-vamping of Daleks and Cybermen (when most re-hashings of old ideas tend to get tired). There is PLENTY more to do with this show...heck, remember that not only are there more incarnations left, we al
    • "Human daleks" are true to the original Dalek concept? Well fuck me, I'm so Glad Daleks are now so accepting of human beings, I mean it's not like they spent the last billion or so years trying to wipe out the entire universe.

      Oh and Daleks have been ruined, it went from "Evil, going to kill you all!" to "oh look, it escaped again, last Dalek alive, wonder how it'll get a few more this time" Rose had access to the entire span of the universe, she saw, knew and controlled everything, then completely erased th
  • I for one am glad, Season 3 has been absolutely terrible so far. Daleks are every where (Why do Daleks have to be in EVERY SERIES!? They aren't scary when they appear every other week) and they keep "killing" (or removing in some form) the doctor to make Martha comes across as a "strong woman type", when instead it just feels forced.

    I suspect Season 4 will be as bad as Season 3 and by then the viewing figures will have dropped. I mean as much fun as "Evil monster chances the doctor around an Earth based pla
  • by cordsie (565171) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:22AM (#19336967)
    ... bullshit on this. A popular show, in it's prime, that's currently raking in cash hands over fist for the BBC from various products and merchandising efforts, is going to be axed right in the middle of a massive wave of popularity? Yes, you might kill a popular show just as its popularity or quality is fading, give it a dignified death, whatever. But this makes no sense. Producers and writers can be replaced, refreshed, whatever. Combined with the fact this is the Sun reporting this, and ... well ... as I said, bullshit.
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      A popular show, in it's prime, that's currently raking in cash hands over fist for the BBC from various products and merchandising efforts, is going to be axed right in the middle of a massive wave of popularity?

            It wouldn't be the first time.
    • ...A popular show, in it's prime, that's currently raking in cash hands over fist for the BBC from various products and merchandising efforts...

      And add profits to that from the fact that it's been sold to and premiered in (so far): Canada, Australia, South Korean, New Zealand, France, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Hong Kong, Russia and a slew of middle easter countries as well. Probably missed some major countries... don't know how to count BBC America though so I left it out of the "sol

  • Sun journalism 101 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:26AM (#19337017) Journal
    I wouldn't believe a word that rag says. It's the worst of the Murdoch rags. Even the people who work for it consider it pretty disreputable.

    Here's an example... Tango produces a commercial where old lady puts pin into balloon and old lady pops. The Sun called up the "help the aged" charity and said "They're blowing up old people. do you think this is right?". Woman who hadn't seen it agreed that on the face of it it sounded bad. The Sun then ran a story about how Help the Aged wanted the ad banned.

    They do not fact check unless not doing so will get them sued. Their source could be a teaboy for all we know.
  • Why should we believe thenm when its something that is more popular than any Sky show, and they can't buy it
  • by brown-eyed slug (913910) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:37AM (#19337229) Homepage
    The truth of the matter is that Russell T Davies has stated publicly for quite a while that he won't stay on forever - he has previously said he wouldn't be in the Executive Producer role after 2010. Another truth is that he has no control over what the BBC choose to do with the show after he leaves. Quite an important truth is that Doctor Who is one of the BBC's most important programmes - regularly top of the ratings (after soaps) and a merchandising gold mine. The Sun is not a reliable source for stories like this as they will take a germ of a story and run it in whatever direction suits them. Anyone concerned that the fourth season will be the last should stop worrying.
  • If he wasn't willing to make a commitment to continuing a series, maybe he shouldn't have taken on the project? There is no one else at BBC capable of directing a Sci-Fi show? And what's with this mass-resignation? Some kind of ideology statement? It must be designed to say something, most people when they tire of a job simply find another without dropping bombs on the way out the door. Disappointing.
  • Doctor, who? Is this a show like Doogie Houser M.D.?
    • by Dunbal (464142)
      Doctor, who? Is this a show like Doogie Houser M.D.?

            Yeah, only they have a new doctor every show and you have to guess his name. It's like a game show really...
    • Nah, it's more like Dr. House, but instead of guessing the disease of the week by looking at the symptoms they try to figure out what doc to blame for the malpractice of the week.

      British humour. Don't try to understand it, it's like trying to figure out why vinager supposedly goes well with fries. Sure, you may try, but you'll make a funny face and everyone but you is gonna laugh about it, and you still won't get it.
  • Austin: Really?

    The Sun: No. Not really....
  • by Eudial (590661)
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOO

    Please keep appending Os. If we get enough O's, and send 'em to the BBC, maybe they won't cancel it.
  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Thursday May 31, 2007 @09:55AM (#19337583) Homepage Journal

    The Sun is always wrong about Doctor Who. It has been printing one manifestly untrue story about the series every week for months. Just because you read in a tabloid that a Lancaster Bomber has been found on the Moon [disco-nt.co.uk] doesn't mean you automatically believe it (note to self: excellent plot for Doctor Who episode).

    Personally I would be a lot more worried if the Sun reported that Doctor Who was definitely on for ten more seasons.

  • by ItsIllak (95786) on Thursday May 31, 2007 @10:48AM (#19338483) Homepage
                    Rupert Murdoch
                      /       \
                     /         \
    News International      Sky One-----COMPETITOR--------BBC
         /                     |                            |
        /                      |                            |
    The Sun                 Various----LOWER RATINGS----Doctor Who

    Do you see what's happening here?

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